gap year / Life / Travel

When Bad Luck becomes your Best Friend

bad luck

We’ve all had those days where we’ve been riddled with Bad Luck. Sometimes those days can be weeks, or even months. But what to do when Bad Luck, quite literally, becomes your best friend?

For the past two weeks, I can absolutely, definitely tell you guys that Bad Luck creeped its way into my life and hasn’t seemed to have left. Let me give you a quick run-down of what’s been going on:

My Chinese homestay family

I started having troubles with my Chinese host family (you may have read about that here), which led to a mutual agreement for me to move out. This meant that I was essentially homeless. I moved into the school dormitory temporarily but what I hadn’t realised was that this was 100元 per night (the boss refused to let me stay there for free given my situation – which I feel is entirely unfair but hey-ho). Whilst this isn’t overly expensive in Western terms, this was a cost that I had not anticipated. I had twenty more nights in China and the expense would have piled up to quite a sum.

I was at a loss as to what to do.

Train delays

I set of for Chengdu on Tuesday 8th June ready to take the Z49 which arrived the following morning. Little did I know just what kind of journey I was in for. After arriving at the station and checking the boards, I saw that there was a delay (thank God I could understand the Chinese characters!) I spent the next couple of hours playing games on my phone, trying my hardest not to fall asleep and keeping an eye on the noticeboard. Hours passed by and there was still no exact time the train would arrive.

Eventually, the board updated: a 4 hour delay. Great. I grabbed myself an oreo mcflurry from McDonald’s (no, seriously, the ice cream here in China is so much better) and waited. The board updated again: 5 hours 10 minutes late.

As if I wasn’t already annoyed by the train delay already, I discovered the next day that the train was in for more delays. I had just woken up and was sat on one of the top bunks in the sleeper carriage getting all of my things prepared to disembark. I figured that if the train was 5 hours 10 minutes delayed, I would arrive at 1:50pm instead of the original 8:40am. But I was wrong. Somewhere along the journey, the train was stopped and we were held up for a further 5 hours. I didn’t arrive at Chengdu until 6:30pm!

Locked out of QQ

My main form of communicating with my students was on QQ (I have over 150 contacts) – you may have read more here. When I finally arrived at my hotel, QQ logged me out and said my account was under protection. Since I had been in Shijiazhuang, Hebei the previous day and was currently in Chengdu, Sichuan, they had thought my account had been hacked. Great.

Luckily I had a few students on WeChat who could tell other students any information/news I needed to get to them. I couldn’t get back into my QQ because it required me to send a text message from a SIM card I no longer used and had been cancelled. It was a nightmare! All my plans were with students I only communicated with on QQ.

Being unable to sleep

My hotel in Chengdu was located above a KTV and most of the time this was fine. However, the walls were really thin and I could hear the hotel’s guests and staff members talking really loudly every morning (sometimes as early as 5am!) My neighbours were a couple and they seemed to be having arguments every evening and morning – it was a nightmare.

Phone stolen

This is by far the worst thing Bad Luck has done to me out of everything I will list. I was out in Chengdu with two of my students sight-seeing. We had just bought some (really good) chicken and we were walking along chatting. My phone was in a small side bag and it was being charged by a portable charger. Part of the wire was sticking out but the phone and charger were completely inside the bag and the zip was fully closed (only a tiny hole for the wire). I don’t know how or when my phone was stolen but when I reached for it to check the time, all I could see was the end of the charger cable.

I panicked. I was alone in Chengdu with no one to contact or communicate with. I already had limited communication with my students because of my QQ account being locked; I had no way to communicate with anyone who could help me; I didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my time in Chengdu. Luckily, my two students helped me and took me to a police station. We scoured the CCTV but quickly realised my phone must have been stolen before the footage. So we ran to another police station where I was questioned while my students looked at their CCTV videos. We were there for a good hour or so and I got the change to use Find My iPhone, but my phone was (and still is) switched off. I’m so glad I have travel + gadget insurance!

Girl problems(!)

Yep, you guessed right. Apologies to any male readers but it’s something that needs to be mentioned! On the train back to Shijiazhuang Mother Nature decided to make a visit – how timely of her 😊  and guess what ladies? I had nothing with me. It was a complete disaster!

Getting lost

So my homeless situation had been sorted out and I got a new homestay buuuut I didn’t know how to get to school from my apartment I had been provided with. The first day I took a taxi and everything was smooth but the second day was bad. I spoke with my homestay Mum and she told me what bus to get and from which bus stop. But she was wrong. I got on the wrong bus and ended up miles away from school! I had to get a taxi all the way back and was 40 minutes late. Can you imagine how I must have felt not knowing where I was or what was happening ON TOP of having no mobile phone!

What to do?

The past two weeks have undoubtedly been difficult, particularly because I was alone for most of the incidents, but I think that they’ve been really good for me (in a way, they’re still pretty awful – don’t get me wrong haha) 

Here are some tips I would give to anyone who’s going through a patch of Bad Luck:

  • Try not to panic. I know this is your first instinct but you can think a lot better with a clear head.
  • Don’t act impulsively. Think what your parents would do if they were in this situation and try to act accordingly.
  • Smile – this is the last thing you want to do but this experience you’re going through is probably going to teach you a very good life lesson!
  • Curse. You’re allowed to be angry and upset and cursing can really help let off steam.
  • This one is one I have only just come to accept and realise: all of these experiences have happened for a reason and, looking back, I’ve learnt to deal with situations completely alone. Take my phone, for example, I was a young adult travelling around Chengdu solo (i.e. no other adult with me) in a city where they don’t even speak the standard Mandarin (PuTongHua 普通话) so despite the fact I could speak some Chinese, this didn’t really apply here! I had to overcome the language barrier, both with English/Chinese and with PuTongHua/SiChuanHua and file a police report. I had to make sure I got a copy for my insurance too. It really taught me a lot.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you are going through a rough time, feel free to drop me a comment in the comments section below or send me an email at apieceofviola@gmail.com 💕

If you’re not following the adventure already, here are the links:

Instagram📷 & Twitter🐥 – @violahelen_
Snapchat👻 – violahelen

Peace and love,
Viola xo

P.S. After 7 months away from home, I’m finally going home next week! 😱

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3 thoughts on “When Bad Luck becomes your Best Friend

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